How to Screen Tradeshow Contractors in < 1 min?

Last Updated on 2023-08-14 by Tom

Yesterday, I attended a trade show hosted by ARLA, who did a great job by organizing this free event with 36 contractors that cover almost every service a landlord might need. Big thumbs up to ARLA!

I happily spent nearly 3 hours at the trade show, talking to almost all the contractors. After the show, I naturally realized that there were certain contractors I would most likely get in touch with, but some of them quickly turned me off. As a landlord and an engineer, I applied a principle I use to screen prospective tenants. Personally, I find it useful to spend quality time with the contractors I like, and I hope it might help you too when you are at a trade show next time.

I found that these contractors could be easily screened in less than 1 minute using a method I developed during the 3-hour chat and observation, which I call the “stand-up or not” method. Here’s how it works:

The “stand-up or not” method is quite straightforward. When you approach a table hosted by a contractor, simply observe if there is a chair and if the contractors are sitting. When you get closer, see if they stand up and greet you warmly, or if they remain seated and even “pretend” to be busy without acknowledging you. This tiny detail can tell me a lot about how caring and serious the contractors are likely to be in the future, if you choose to work with them. Let me illustruate a bit more on how it works.

Overall, you can easily divide the trade show contractors into three categories:

Category A: No chair at all, the host stands tall and smiles while greeting you with full energy.

Category B: There is a chair, but they stand up right away when you approach.

Category C: They have a chair and remain seated while talking to you, and it gets worse from there.

I would say that 10-20% of the contractors fall into category A, 50-60% fall into category B, and the remaining 20% belong to category C.

To me, it quickly became clear that category A, along with a small portion of category B, passed my screening and were worth spending more time and going deeper with.

Want a good example? Check out the top pick here: Mackenzie from Single Key. He had no chair, stood tall, and was smiling throughout the entire 7-hour show. I later had a brief chat with him, and he mentioned that he woke up at 4:00 am and drove all the way from Calgary to Edmonton. His amazing passion kept him going the whole day. It’s a strong sign of dedication and care, which is essential if any contractor wants to earn the trust of potential customers.

Now you have it – “1 minute to tell the difference at a trade show.” Quick and dirty? Yes. Will it save you tons of time and guide you down the right path with likely promising contractors who deserve your time and energy? I did this for me beautifully, and I hope for you too 🙂